North Students Named National Merit Scholars

Posted by Community Relations Department on 10/2/2013

David Battel of North High School was named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.




Taylor Heimbichner qualified as a National Achievement Scholar semifinalist, as a high-achieving African-American, and Nevan Madrid and Michael Pineda were named National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars.  All are from the North International Baccalaureate program.

David Battel qualified as a semifinalist by being among the highest-scoring entrants in Arizona in the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT.)   The 16,000 semifinalists this year represent less than one percent of the 1.5 million juniors from over 22,000 high schools who take the PSAT.  National Merit Finalists are highly coveted as prospective students to every college and university in the country.



Battel is second in his senior class, with a perfect unweighted 4.0 grade point average.  His strengths lie in math and physics.  He has taken High Level IB Math, and the Stanford Online High School for Multivariable Calculus.  He loves to share his knowledge and understanding of subjects with others.  “I love demonstrating the concepts to other people because an idea as brilliant and useful and elegant as calculus must be shared.”  Battel says his dedication to the North Robotics team is legendary, and he hopes to mentor a high school team in college, and compete in higher level engineering challenges.  He also sings in choral groups, practices karate and plays squash. He placed first in the American Math competition among students at North, has attended the U of A Summer Engineering Experience, and spent five weeks, at Washington University in St. Louis, taking college classes.   His schools of choice are Washington University or Stanford, majoring in math, physics or engineering.  Battel would like to pursue a career in engineering or possibly teaching.




Taylor Heimbichner likes courses like physics, calculus and chemistry because everything has a logical reason supporting it and they contain important information applicable to the real world.  He is the lead programmer and was the Most Valuable Junior on last year’s North Robotics team.  In his spare time he is teaching himself to program and volunteers at the Arizona Science Center.  Heimbichner is considering studying physics or computer science at California-Berkeley or Michigan and eventually earn a doctorate for a career as a physicist or computer scientist.  Heimbichner is one of only 12 National Achievement Scholarship semifinalists in Arizona. 



The National Achievement Scholarship Program is an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding Black American high school students. Students may enter the National Achievement Program and the National Merit Program by taking the PSAT/NMSQT.   Of the more than 160,000 students who currently enter the National Merit Corporation National Achievement Program each year, only 1,600 are named Semifinalists.




Nevan Madrid followed brothers Sean and Colin to North’s IB program.  He is involved in the school’s robotics team, drama and plays viola for the Phoenix College Orchestra.  His favorite classes are physics and chemistry, and he hopes being named a Hispanic Recognition Scholar will help him pay for college.  He expects to attend University of Arizona, majoring in material sciences and engineering.

Michael Pineda travels 90 minutes by bus to get to the North IB program, and has become a master at time management, trying to complete homework whenever he has free time.  He is up at 5 a.m., is the captain of the North Swim team, plays on the tennis team, has competed in chess and track and field, and is an active member of the robotics team.  Pineda is also the President of the National Honor Society and member of the Interact Club. He has participated in the Barrett Summer Scholars program at ASU, the Joaquin-Bustoz Math-Science Honors program at ASU, High School Latino Leadership program in Washington, D.C. and Minority Introduction to Engineering and Sciencce at MIT.  Pineda’s top two college choices are Stanford and MIT.  He would like to study aerospace engineering, materials engineering or nuclear/energy engineering.




The National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) identifies academically outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students. Each year, the NHRP honors about 5,000 of the highest-scoring students from over 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT. Being named is an important academic recognition, and NHRP makes this information available to subscribing colleges and universities that are particularly interested in communicating with academically exceptional Hispanic/Latino students. 



About 90% of National Merit Scholarship semifinalists become finalists, according to the  NMSC.   Since 1990, North High has had 93 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists and finalists and 112 Commended students.  This year’s Commended students have not yet been announced.